Preserving the History of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle, Washington

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Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Center Gates Removal

Jan 2024 Center Gate progress photo from Greg Shaw


 Here's something you might see every 107 years or so. The center gates at the large lock were being removed recently and will be replaced late next year. This will necessarily cause disruptions in the use of the large lock as it will be closed for extended periods of time until the new gates are installed. Here's a link to the Army Corps page with projected dates for the closures.

Large lock closure information 


Both gates were removed late in the night so the public missed a great photo opportunity but for several days it was possible to see the work crews preparing for the rarely performed procedure. We know the gates were removed at least once before in 1973, brought to Tacoma for repairs and reinstalled again. Here's a few pics of the process.


Crane and barges entering large lock


Center gates partially open in preparation for removal

Using torch to burn through wood fender on gate

Axes, chainsaws, torches and crowbars were all used in cutting through the wood before installing the equipment used in lifting the gate from lock. on deck of the large crane was this smaller crane used in bringing the crew close enough to the gate to complete the process.

Here's a small video of a chainsaw in use to cut away a section of the wood fender.

 Chainsaw at work.


Photo by Fred Mitchell and published in Seattle Times Oct 18, 2023



In the meantime, the small lock also needed a little TLC. 

Small lock getting some attention

While all employees were hard at work, there was one who was clearly just phoning it in.